FORMER FBI agent John Connolly, who worked with the ruthless Irish American mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, will be released from prison to die at his home as he battles with terminal cancer.
Connolly schemed with Bulger and his notorious Winter Hill gang to murder businessman John Callahan in 1982.
He also tipped off the Boston gangster about a forthcoming racketeering indictment, causing Bulger to flee the state and elude the authorities for sixteen years, until his eventual capture in 2011.
The disgraced FBI agent was first indicted in 1999 and was handed a 10-year prison sentence in 2002.
When more details emerged of Connolly’s complicity in a second degree murder, it became clear that he represented one of the biggest breaches in crime fighting the organisation’s history – which is reflected in the 40-year prison sentence that he received in 2009, when the full force of the law – that he had pledged to uphold – finally caught up with him.
Even though Connolly was 1,500 miles away when Martorano, the hitman, killed Mr Callahan in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the prosecution managed to establish his involvement, resulting in a conviction for second-degree murder with a firearm.
Presiding over the trial, Judge Blake accepted the prosecution’s request for a sentence exceeding the usual 30-year threshold as Connolly had abused his power and “crossed over to the dark side”, US media reported the judge saying at the time.
The events surrounding the entanglement of the Boston-Irish mob and the rogue FBI agent inspired Hollywood blockbuster The Departed.
Connolly is currently serving out his 40-year sentence at Florida State Prison but will be released imminently after the Florida Commission on Offender Review voted 2-1 on Feb. 17 to discharge him from prison on medical grounds.
He is suffering from terminal cancer and has less than a year to live, according to CBS Boston.
As part of the conditions of his medical release, the now 80-year-old Connolly will be confined to his home or a hospice facility, and is barred from having firearms, alcohol, or drugs at his residence.
The former law enforcement agent is also prohibited from contacting John Callahan's family.
"We are pleased. John is 80 years old, he has cancer, and from my perspective, he's been wrongfully convicted. Which is why I've been representing him for free for 15 years," Connolly's attorney, James E. McDonald told CNN.